Prison report

Letters to the Boston editor, October 1, 2010
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 29, 2010

Thank you so much for writing this article. I can’t believe that someone has not only taken the time to write about the sadistic nature of Massachusetts prisons, but also interviewed all the right people. They have so much information but no media outlet has ever bothered to speak to them until now.

I co-founded an organization called End the Odds Coalition that met three times with Harold Clarke and his entourage in November 2008, then we held a public hearing to allow former prisoners, advocates, activists, and homeless-shelter directors to tell the commissioner what they think needs to happen in prison to ensure a successful reentry. You can read the transcripts or listen to it at

I am no longer actively involved with EtOC, although it is still active. I stopped being involved because the walls are too thick and too high to make any of the changes needed for our society to actually have the public safety it claims to be providing. All we want to do is “work to break the cycle” and “end the odds” that a person released from prison will recidivate based on what did and did not take place in prison. But then I discovered that people were not interested in a reduction in crime or recidivism, mainly because of job security and prison contracts.

Thanks again. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Karen Spence

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